Situation of women in Lithuania


The most popular fields of education among women were education (88.3 per cent), health and social services (80.0 per cent), social sciences, business and law (66.7 per cent). Men tend to choose Engineering, manufacture and building (75.8 per cent), Agriculture and veterinary (62.6 per cent), services (60.6 per cent). Most (88 per cent) teaching staff at general schools were women. At vocational schools, women made up 69, at colleges – 67, at universities – 53 per cent of the academic staff.

Women in Labour force

Labor market is the field where gender inequality can be easily seen. Based on the statistical information of various EU and Lithuanian institutions, women and men situation and opportunities within the labor market are not equal. The main types of inequality in labor market are the fields of: wage and other incomes; employment and working conditions; economic power.

 Gender wage gap

Since 2011 the wage gap in women and men salaries, in Lithuania, was constantly growing and in 2015 it reached 14.4%. Publicly announced statistic male wage usually is higher in reality and the reason behind it is that statistics announce only registered primary job payment not considering additional payments that are given for services and motivational reasons. Moreover, male have better access to such additional payments/it is easier for male workers to get those additional payments.

Wage gap in public & private sectors

According to earnings statistics, in 2016, the average gross monthly earnings of women made up 84.4 per cent of those of men. The gender pay gap in the private sector was bigger than in the public one and stood at 17.6 per cent (in the public sector – at 13.7 per cent). In public sector wages are determined by a certain universal system of functions, levels and categories, which is determined in a centralized manner. In this way there is and more control and transparency. However, in a private sector, the wage depends on a subjective employer’s evaluation and economic reasons. The largest gender pay gap was recorded in financial and insurance activities (38.3 per cent) and information and communication (29.9 per cent).

Wage gap increases with age

An interesting fact is that the gap in women and men wage increases with the corresponding increase in the age of women and men. In years of 35 – 44 the wage gap reaches 20%, but afterwards it is starting to decrease. It reveals unequal career opportunities. For men, while pursuing a career, wage is increasing more than women, also the possibility to get promotions are higher for male workers.

It takes into account three types of disadvantages women face: Lower hourly earnings; Working fewer hours in paid jobs; Lower employment rates (for example when interrupting a career to take care of children or relatives).

Lithuania in the Global Gender Gap Report

The Global Gender Gap Report, held annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF, 2016), highlights the progress made by 144 countries in the world in terms of gender equality. Looking at the data provided by Lithuania in the field of work, it is evident that in a global context, Lithuania is one of the more advanced states ensuring equal opportunities for women and men in the field of work. Lithuania exceeds the global average in all areas of work, except for remuneration for similar work. The latter indicator in 2016 The country was 0.616 compared with the global average of 0.622 (where 1 is equal to total equality). Therefore, the average Lithuanian index should not be seen as a sign that “everything is fine”, but rather as a symbolic comparison of the country with global trends.

Compared to the EU average, Lithuania is the only one in the field of employment (LT: 19.8, EU: 72.3, where 100 is equal to equality) and slightly behind European trends in terms of the economic situation (LT: 76, EU: 79,1). All other indicators – segregation and quality of working conditions, financial resources, economic power – are well below the EU average. In the last two areas, our country lags behind half of the EU average: in terms of financial resources, the Lithuanian indicator is 27.4 (EU: 58) and economic strength – 16 (EU: 31.7). All this confirms that gender inequalities in Lithuania are still high enough in the economic field, in particular the prevalence of inequality in comparison with the EU average, or the countries of the European region (Sweden, Finland, Denmark), which are the leaders in gender equality policy.

You can find The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 here:

Work and Life Balance

The women employment rate is directly related to the availability of childcare facilities. This statistical dependency of women’s employment and the availability of childcare facilities is linked to the stereotypical attachment of childcare to women’s social roles. In Lithuania, 34% women and only 19% men spend time on childcare every day (EWCS 2015; Reingard, 2017). Therefore, when it comes to the issue of childcare at home, women’s employment goes back to the second plan. This is well illustrated by the statistics on parental leave, in which women lead: 32.2 thousand. (78%) women and 8.9 thousand (22%) men in 2015 was on parental leave (Sodra, 2016). 13 % of women do not come back to their workplace after maternity leave and this number is even higher in the private sector – it reaches 21%. The main reasons for that indicated are – either women lose their position in their previous work after maternity leave or do not get a place for their children in the childcare facilities. These cultural and practical circumstances have a huge impact towards women employment and activities in labour market. Also, it lowers the possibilities for a better career.

To found out more about working conditions in Lithuania and in Europe press here:

In addition to childcare, women also have a large share of housekeeping. Childcare and housekeeping – are one of the main reasons why women often choose to work part-time.  Those women who want to remain in the labour market and combine work and family responsibilities also face barriers. In addition to the aforementioned career breaks, the lack of childcare institutions and housekeeping issues, another contributing reason is – unfavourable employer’s attitude towards women who raise children. Usually it is mainly seen in the lack of flexibility in working hours.

You can find the report by International Labour Organisation “Towards a better future for women and work: Voices of women and men” here:—dgreports/—dcomm/—publ/documents/publication/wcms_546256.pdf

Violence against women

Violence against women is the most common violation of women’s human rights in Europe and Lithuania is not an exception.

“Lithuania should strengthen the protection of women and children against violence and build a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities”

Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Report on the visit to Lithuania:

“Violence against women is a grave crime that tramples human dignity, violates human rights and incites discrimination. It affects not only women, but entire families and all layers of society. Physical, psychological and emotional abuse destroys the quality of life and work. Medical, legal and social costs are the price of violence that all of us have to pay,”

The President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė

Fighting violence against women is among the priorities of the national “For a Safe Lithuania” campaign launched by President Dalia Grybauskaitė.

Press here for more information:

Economic power of women

The economic power of women is measured by indicators that reveal how much economic decision-making and management power are concentrated in the hands of women. One such indicator is the number of women leaders. In 2016 women accounted for 39.4 percent all executives (legislators, senior public officials, companies, institutions, organizations and other executives). We can speak of a consistent equality trend in public sector (56% of female executives are present), this trend is not visible in the private sector: it only leads 34.5%. There has been no significant positive change in the leadership of women in this sector in recent years.

Read about business women association in Lithuania here:

Effort to measure women’s economic power indicators is often used to capture the number of women in the boards of companies. It reveals the extent to which women have power in economic decision-making. As a rule, the number of women and men in the largest public limited companies, which in 2016, is measured. At the end of the year, there were 21. The number of women in the boards remains very low – women are only 14%. of all board members, and this percentage remains similar for a long period of time. It is interesting to compare the number of women and men among the directors-general of these companies: 2012, 2013, and 2014. There was only 1 Director General in Lithuania in 2016. At the end of the year, there were 4 such women in the position (17 men).

Among the executive and non-executive directors, the proportion of women was also not high – 22%, and 15% respectively. No significant progress has been made on issues of gender equality in listed joint stock companies in recent years.


Glass ceiling

The reasons why women are significantly less managerial – complex. It can be:

  • Preceding employers’ precepts that a woman will not be able to perform such duties;
  • Unclear principles for hiring and promotion of employees;
  • Unfavorable environment for reconciling family and work commitments;
  • Lack of successful examples;
  • Women’s distrust of themselves.

Women in politics

All this is also called “glass ceiling”, which complicates the woman’s career path. “Glass Ceilings” are structural, artificial, invisible barriers that prevent qualified women from coping with a career ladder, taking up management positions in an organization. In 2016, 30 women and 111 men were elected to the Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania. Women make up one-fifth of Seimas members.

In 2014, one woman and ten men were elected to the European Parliament. On 1 July 2017, there were three (21 per cent) female ministers in the seventeenth Government of the Republic of Lithuania; out of 40 viceministers, 14 (35 per cent), out of 14 ministry chancellors – 6 (43 per cent) are women. In the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, female ministers, viceministers and advisors to ministers make up about 35 per cent of all ministers, viceministers and advisors to ministers.

According to the Labour Force Survey data, in 2016, 39 per cent of all leaders were women. At the beginning of 2017, 29 per cent of diplomatic mission leaders were women. In 2015, 363 women (25 per cent) and 1 110 men (75 per cent) were elected to the municipal councils of the Republic of Lithuania.

In May 2009 the first woman president was elected – Dalia Grybauskaitė. She is a Chair of Council of women world leaders by United Nations

Recently she made an opening speech in annual Women Political leaders summit

The strategy of gender equality in Lithuania

In 1998, in order to join the EU and implement the Union’s directives on gender equality, in Lithuania, for the first time, a separate legal act establishing gender equality was adopted – the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men – which is still in force. It was also the first such law throughout Central and Eastern Europe. It provides for the duties of public authorities, educational and scientific institutions, employers to ensure equal opportunities for the sexes, as well as the prohibition of discriminatory actions, etc.

At the same time, the Office of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men was set up – the Ombudsman’s body, overseeing the enforcement of the law, monitoring and investigating the complaints of discrimination against the population. In 2003 another Law on Equal Opportunities was adopted that protects against discrimination on the grounds of race, nationality, age, disability, religion, etc.). It also obliges to ensure equal opportunities in the fields of state and municipal, education, labor, consumer rights. At the same time, the competence of the controller was extended and the name of the service changed – the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman became an independent institution that supervises both laws.

Alongside these special, targeted laws, there are other legal acts that ensure gender equality – the Constitution, the Labor Code, the Criminal Code, social security laws, etc. In 2016, the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security and Labour and Office of the Ombudsperson for Equal Opportunities started developing an ESF-financed project to strengthen equal opportunities for women and men. The project should support the implementation of legal provisions under which municipal institutions have to provide for measures aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for women and men in municipal strategic development and/or municipal strategic action plans at municipal level. Certain measures are planned for improving gender disaggregated statistics.